The pillars of preventing flea-borne typhus are in good flea control measures. Flea control involves prevention for pets and for the environment.
For pets, it is recommended that dogs and cats have ongoing flea prevention – the best way to achieve this is to consult with your veterinarian on the most appropriate method for your pet, whether that is oral medications, topical medications, or other repellants.
Certain types of parasite preventative medications can be toxic to specific breeds of dogs or to cats, further highlighting the importance of consulting your veterinarian for the best choice.
Not only does flea prevention reduce the risk of your pet getting and spreading flea-borne typhus, but it also protects pets from multiple other diseases that fleas carry and the uncomfortable irritation or allergies that fleas cause pets.
Furthermore, many veterinary-prescribed flea preventatives also prevent ticks, mites, lice, and other external parasites (all of which have their own set of diseases and irritations!). If your pet isn’t already on one of these medications, it’s truly worth the visit to the vet to protect your pet.
Additionally, keeping your dog on-leash and out of heavily overgrown areas during walks and hikes helps prevent fleas, ticks, and other parasites from jumping onto your pet. Even if your pet is on a flea preventative, you should still check your pet’s fur regularly for signs of fleas, flea dirt, ticks, and other parasites. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns so that he or she can properly diagnose the issue and recommend the best treatment and prevention options.
Preventing fleas in the environment starts with your own home. Here are some of the actions you can take to reduce flea, rat, and wildlife populations (all drivers of flea-borne typhus) in your home and yard:
Properly and promptly clean up any trash. Do not leave piles of trash or debris in your yard, garage, or home as these can attract rodents or wildlife as a place of shelter or source of food. Make sure trash bins have secure closures.
Maintain a well-groomed yard. Keeping foliage and heavy vegetation pruned reduces both insect and rodent populations in the yard.
Secure crawl spaces. Do this to prevent rodents and feral cats from making their own home under yours.
Do not provide food or water for stray or wild animals. Doing this will attract all kinds of animals that can bring with them flea infestations.
Feed your pet indoors & store your pet’s food indoors. Similarly, if you leave your pet’s food outdoors, it will attract other hungry animals.
Maintain routine house cleaning. Keeping carpets, rugs, and pet beds clean helps prevent flea infestations from taking hold in the house.
Address rodent and pest infestations. Call a professional if you may be dealing with an infestation.
Even if the prevalence of flea-borne typhus is relatively low in your area, these are good general recommendations to follow for your pet’s safety and your own health.
These same prevention measures can be helpful in controlling many other infectious flea-and-tick-borne diseases of pets and people – diseases such as plague, cat scratch fever, rabies, leptospirosis, and many others.
Flea-borne typhus is overall more of a public health concern than a direct threat to your dog’s health and wellbeing. Nonetheless, it is important to understand how you can do your part in preventing the disease to protect yourself, your pet, and those around you from infectious diseases that are harbored by fleas.